O Canada

#inspiration, meaning, wordsAs we approach Canada Day and the 150th birthday of our country, I decided to take a closer look at our national anthem and how it applies to my life.

“O Canada, our home and native land.” Canada is home to over thirty-six million people. More than 20% of these were not born in this country. Ours is a nation known for welcoming people from other lands.

In my everyday life, I can learn from this example and be warm and welcoming to everyone, not just those with common experiences. Diversity makes life more interesting.

“True patriot love.” This applies to love for our country. To me, this means to be proud of Canada and all it has to offer. Our standard of living is one many areas of the world would love to experience. I am grateful to live here.

Do I appreciate the opportunities that are present in my life or do I grumble and complain about little things that inconvenience me? The many positives far outweigh the few negatives.

“True north strong and free.” Our country offers us freedom of speech, freedom of religion and many other freedoms that are denied in other parts of the world. I never want to take these for granted.

Do I appreciate the freedoms in my life or just think of them as my right? Maybe I deny myself freedom. When I look at mistakes I’ve made in the past and decide not to risk loving others, believing in myself or having dreams for the future, I am locking myself in a self-imposed prison. This denies me the life that true freedom offers.

The word freedom also reminds me to be open and accepting of positions that are different from my own. It’s not up to me to judge anyone else based on their beliefs

“We stand on guard for thee.” As Canadians, we may be called upon to defend our country and all it stands for. I don’t have to be in the military or law enforcement to do this. I can guard its reputation by the words I speak.

O Canada was written over one hundred years ago, but its message is still relevant to my life today.

Playing

joy, freedom, adventures“Can I go outside and play in the snow?” my granddaughter asked. “Sure,” I replied. “Are your sisters going with you?”

Her sisters wanted to stay indoors but she was happy to go out on her own. The pristine snow in our backyard was soon marked with tracks as she jumped and played in her private winter wonderland.

When I next looked out she was making a snow angel. The grin on her face was huge. I turned to my husband and said, “When I look at her I see pure joy.”

The joy came from being free to play. There were no rules to follow. She could just have fun.

It made me wonder about the last time I did something just for the pleasure it would bring. To be free to play and not care what anyone else might think. As the famous quote says, “Dance like nobody’s watching.”

Somewhere between childhood and adulthood many of us have forgotten how to play. There is no reason life always has to be taken so seriously. Let’s give ourselves permission to play with the joyful abandon of a child.
Life is full of exciting adventures. It’s time to be spontaneous and get out there and enjoy!

“You can learn more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.” Plato

Do You Have Freedom?

freedom, Jesus, inspirationFreedom can mean different things to people. It all depends on your perspective.

In this country we have freedom of speech. We have the right to speak our mind without fear of persecution. In many countries this freedom is denied.

To those imprisoned, freedom means not being locked up. The wrongs committed have been pardoned. The slate has been wiped clean and they can start anew.

I have met numerous people who are locked up in self imposed prisons. They look at mistakes they’ve made in the past and decide they can’t risk loving, believing in themselves or having dreams for the future. Due to this they live in despair, loneliness and isolation. It is ironic to think they hold the key to unlock this prison but fail to recognize it.

A mistake doesn’t have to mean a life-sentence. I read a quote by Mahatma Gandhi that said, “Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.” The freedom to make and learn from mistakes can liberate us to move forward in life.

Jesus died in order that our sins may be forgiven. He wiped the slate clean for us. If I believe my mistakes or sins are unpardonable, then his sacrifice is meaningless. When I truly believe in Jesus I am set free and will embrace the life he’s given me – mistakes and all.

He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. (.Ephesians 1:7 NLT)

For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. (2 Corinthians 3:17 NLT)

Walking in Syrup

sticky-deckWe arrived at our campsite to see sheen on the deck that proved to be extremely sticky. There were also some dark spots where the stickiness had accumulated. It felt like we were walking through syrup as we headed to the door of our trailer.

The deck was scrubbed as well as the table and chairs. We

positioned our chairs so we could sit and enjoy the sun. Soon I felt a drop hit my arm. I looked into a cloudless sky and realized that it wasn’t rain I was feeling. Thinking it must be my imagination I turned the page and continued reading. Soon I felt more drops but couldn’t see anything on my skin.

Then I noticed the table had sticky spots again. The only answer was that the drops I felt were coming from the trees at the end of the deck. Although I couldn’t see them falling, the cumulative effect sticky-treeswas an unpleasant stickiness that clung to everything they touched. Before long our sandals stuck to the deck again.

This situation reminded me of my life. It is easy to let bad habits or negative thoughts slowly creep up on me. They start out as minor annoyances that I can ignore. Before long these behaviours add up to create a sticky mess in my life. I long for the freedom and peace of mind I once felt.

The way to restore my freedom is to bring everything before Jesus. When I pray, confess my sins and ask for forgiveness He is willing to scrub my heart and make it clean again. When I follow his plan for my life my steps will be much easier to take.

For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. (Galatians 5:13 NLT)

Who Wore the Copper Pants?

sacrifice, freedom, Jesus, inspirationMy husband and I were driving through the Selkirk Mountains and stopped at the Roger’s Pass Discovery Centre. This museum has exhibits that tell about the triumphs and tragedies behind the building of Canada’s first trans-continental railway.

In front of the centre there is an interesting sculpture that depicts the lower half of a workman, with a pick axe standing beside him. The pants are copper and shaped so visitors can stand close behind, giving the appearance they are one of the hardworking people who built this pass through the mountains.

As we watched, several people stepped up behind this and gripped the top of the axe to pose for pictures. It was a brief chance to step back into history.

When I looked at the magnificent mountains in the background I was reminded of the danger and toil these men endured to create the safe passageway we now enjoy.

This highway suddenly represented the many things in life that I too easily take for granted. To stop and think of the lives risked for my future comfort was humbling.

This only served to remind me of the greatest sacrifice ever made. Jesus willingly gave his life so that I may be saved. It was nothing I earned or deserved but a gift freely given. This is something I need to thank and praise him for every day.

And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. (Hebrews 10:10 NIV )

Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. (Hebrews 13:15 NIV)

Have I Crossed the Line?

Jesus, freedom, adventure, life, inspirationIt seemed like a strange thought as I walked along the beach. I’d had it for several days so finally acted on it. Finding a small stick, I picked it up, drew a line in the sand, and then stepped over it!

The only thing that changed was that I was now on the other side of the line. There was no guilt, no unmet expectations and no enlightenment. For years I have heard the phrases line in the sand and don’t cross the line. I’m sure they were said to keep me safe or out of trouble.

The problem was they also held me back. Many years ago I identified with a line in a song that said, “Somebody draw the line so I can blow right past.” This didn’t mean that I wanted to do anything illegal or immoral. I just longed to break out of the self-confining box I had placed myself in.

Living up to the expectations of others, whether real or imagined, is what had destroyed my freedom. True freedom comes from choosing to follow Jesus. He wants to give me a rich and satisfying life. The only way that can be accomplished is to forget about my line in the sand and cross over into the adventure with him.

The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.( John 10:10 NLT)

Running Shoes

God, Jesus, firmness, supportAfter 2 weeks of wearing either sandals or aqua socks, my feet screamed in protest as I laced up my running shoes. Normally I wore aqua socks when we went for our morning beach walk, allowing for elastic stretch and flexibility. This day we had planned a more challenging walk so the support of running shoes was needed. My ankles felt as though they were being strangled! I understood why the firm support was needed, but it was an uncomfortable transition from the freedom and flexibility I’d quickly grown used to.

This was an accurate reflection of my life. When everything is going smoothly I enjoy the freedom and flexibility in my day-to-day life. Then, when things become more challenging I realize that it is firm support that is needed to carry me through. Even though deep down, I understand the need for this firmness, I still chafe at the loss of my freedom.

When my life is placed in the loving hands of the Lord, he will guide me with the support I need. It may feel uncomfortable at times but in reality gives me much more freedom than I have ever had on my own.

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:36 NIV